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Update Your Barnes & Noble Password Right Now

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In a recent email, Barnes & Noble informed its customers of a security breach on October 12 that may have exposed email addresses and other account information.

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The hack affected store systems, reportedly rendering cash registers unusable for a time, and also affected Nook apps and devices. Users were unable to view their collections, load past purchases, or buy new books, and Nook-related web pages were temporarily inaccessible for a few days this week. Most Nook functionality seems to be restored by now, but the full severity of the leak is unclear.

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In the email, Barnes & Noble confirms user email addresses, shipping and billing addresses, and phone numbers were vulnerable, but found no evidence any of this information was stolen. The email also says financial data is encrypted and safe—or at least, that’s how it looks for now.

Illustration for article titled Update Your Barnes Noble Password Right Now

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

The company says the worst users should expect is that they may receive unwanted spam emails or phone calls. However, some users have reported unauthorized account access and purchases in the days since B&N systems were compromised.

While it’s possible hackers stole and decrypted password and payment data, it’s equally likely the affected users had poorly secured bank accounts that use the same email address as their Barnes & Noble profile. It’s not hard to break into an account using credential stuffing, especially if users re-use a password that’s been compromised in other leaks and they don’t have extra account security enabled, such as two-factor authentication (2FA).

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Either way, there’s more risk than just the spam emails and calls Barnes & Noble suggests. Even if the hack exposed only email and phone numbers, these can be used to phish passwords and other security information from unsuspecting victims—that’s why your bank says it “never asks you for your password.”

So if you get an email asking for your account number, credit card info, or password, don’t provide it. And don’t click on any links or email attachments, either.

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You should also update your Barnes & Noble account with new, unique passwords, turn on 2FA or other login security options, and start using an encrypted password manager.

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Check Yourself With $7 off This Infrared Forehead Thermometer

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Don’t let anyone get it twisted: a temperature check is not a substitute for a COVID-19 test. Still, times are scary, and it doesn’t hurt to have another tool handy to make sure you’re in good health. A forehead thermometer keeps things a little less gross than one that gets stuffed in your ear or mouth, and you don’t have to dish out stacks of cash to get your hands on one. This one is down to $23 on Amazon right now, keeping your savings (and you!) nice and safe, since it uses infrared lights for a no-contact scan of your temp.

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How Photoshop’s new Neural Filters harness AI to generate new pixels

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Adobe today launched a new AI-powered workspace for Photoshop that can apply a range of different effects and filters to photos within seconds.

The first of these so-called Neural Filters are Skin Smoothing, which automatically removes blemishes, skin spots, and acne with one click, and Style Transfer, which applies a range of artistic styles to images.

The Neural Filters use machine learning powered by Adobe Sensei.

Adobe’s also released six beta filters that the company aims to improve through feedback from users. A particularly striking beta filter is Smart Portrait, which uses a neural network to transform features including a subject’s age, expression, pose, and lighting.

Credit: Adobe
Head and gaze sliders turned the pirate’s head and eyes to the right, while an increase on the anger slider added a snarl.

Adobe is far from the only company using filters in photo-editing. But the new features harness a novel combination of face segmentation algorithms and generative adversarial networks (GANs) to accelerate the workflow.

“With GANs, what we’re introducing for the first time, is the capability to generate new pixels,” Alexandru Costin, VP of Engineering for Abobe Creative Cloud, told TNW.

[Read: All the new AI-powered features Adobe announced for its creative suite]

Skin smoothing, for example, was previously done in Photoshop by copying and pasting pixels, a time-consuming process that didn’t always produce realistic-looking results. The new filter is instead trained on tens of thousands of before and after images that enable it to produce new pixels for different situations.

The Neural Filters can also add new features that didn’t exist in the original images, such as teeth that are generated from a GAN to give the subject a smile.

Credit: Adobe
Previous methods of adding a smile used pixels from the original image.

Adobe collaborated with Nvidia to develop the Neural Filters, and then reduced the model’s biases, such as ethnicity and age, by adding another 130,000 stock images to the training dataset. Users who spot any remaining biases can provide feedback and an anonymized image to Adobe that can be added to the training dataset.

After retraining the model, Adobe incorporated high-resolution techniques from Photoshop to improve the quality of the output.

The end result is a platform that should make a lot of image edits a whole lot easier. Photoshop 22.0 customers can try it out by opening the app and clicking Filters > Neural Filters.

Published October 20, 2020 — 17:42 UTC

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Borat will do a very nice stream on Twitch with DrLupo

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Borat will be on Twitch soon. The Amazon-owned streaming service announced that Sacha Baron Cohen’s iconic character will be facing off against Ben “DrLupo” Lupo at 6PM ET today.

It’s unclear what game they’ll be playing, though — and somewhat surprisingly, it appears it’s unclear to Lupo, too. “Honestly, I don’t even know,” Lupo said in an emailed statement. “[Borat’s] kind of a wildcard, so I’m down to take him on in whatever he thinks he’s best at.”

A Twitch spokesperson wasn’t able to share anything about what game the two will be playing — though the company’s tweet about the upcoming stream says that Cohen’s character will be playing against Lupo in “a battle for global supremacy.” Twitch did confirm to me that the whole thing will be hosted on Lupo’s channel.

Cohen’s appearance as Borat on Twitch is an admittedly clever bit of corporate synergy, as he will almost certainly be promoting the upcoming Borat sequel that launches exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on October 23rd.

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